Ten Steps to the Perfect Homeschool Plan

The perfect homeschool plan is not elusive. In fact, it is easy to create the perfect plan for your family if you begin by considering the needs of your family, considering your limitations as a homeschool teacher, and avoiding common pitfalls.

Planning means following a series of prescribed steps that will ensure that you have a plan that is going to work.

It may seem time-consuming, but none of these steps are particularly difficult to do and the payoff will be a homeschool that will run itself with only a little daily maintenance to keep it going through the year.

People ask me how much time I spend planning each week during the school year and the answer is – I don’t. Once the annual plan is in place, all I do is fill out spiral notebooks each day. That takes about five minutes per child. Really! My homeschool runs on autopilot and yours can too.

You can read or listen to this post.

Here are the steps you need to take:

1. Step One: Create a Vision

Before you even begin thinking about the other steps of your plan consider what education even looks like at your house.

2. Step Two: Write Effective Goals

Now that you know what you want education to be, think about each of your children and what you would like each of them to learn this year. Do they need to master math facts, learn to read, learn to write a research paper or a persuasive essay? List those things here to keep you focused in your planning for the year.

Ten Steps to the Perfect Homeschool Plan Read Aloud

3. Step Three: Determine a Course of Study

Once your goals are in place you can turn your attention to which subjects you are going to study this year. List those out per student and start thinking about the curriculum and resources you will buy to study each subject.

4. Step Four: Consider Your Scheduling Options

How many days does your school year need? Will you try year-round schooling, tidal homeschooling, schooling that aligns with the calendar year? As homeschoolers, we have a number of options for an annual schedule.

5. Step Five: Plan a Week

Once you know your schedule you can begin to plan what a week looks like in your home. Consider your outside obligations. Will you school four or five days a week? Will you do specific subjects on specific days or follow a loop schedule?

Watch me use the homeschool planning steps here

6. Step Six: Create Procedure Lists

Create any needed procedure lists to make subjects open and go.

7. Step Seven: Create Lesson Plan Lists

Create more detailed lesson plan lists for the subjects that require them, but don’t date them.

8. Step Eight: Organize Your Materials

Now is the time to put the finishing touches on your schoolroom organization and create a space where your family can learn and thrive. This doesn’t mean a Pinterest-perfect space, but instead a space that works for your unique needs.

This is the place where you make and file your copies for the entire year so that everything is at your fingertips when you need it. You can also stock up on sketchbooks, science experiment supplies, and books.

Ten Steps to the Perfect Homeschool Plan Field Trip

9. Step Nine: Visualize Your School Day

How will your days unfold? Elite athletes visualize running the perfect race or playing the perfect game to help ensure their success.

Homeschoolers can use visualization to anticipate parts of the plan you may have forgotten. I have used this one for nine years now and I always find important things I might have missed and am able to correct them before starting school.

It’s my favorite part of planning.

10. Step Ten: Review Periodically

Every quarter or so revisit the parts of your plan to be sure they are still working.

Ten Steps to the Perfect Homeschool Plan ChecklistThe good news is, once you have considered and planned for each step listed above there is nothing left to do (except execute, of course). Even the execution is easier, though, with such a well-made plan. 🙂

To help you out I have a downloadable checklist of all ten steps. You can check off each one as you work, and put the perfect homeschool plan for your family in place to have a wonderful school year. Get yours now.




  • Jen says:

    Some things are difficult to plan. I don’t know this year, how much I’ll be working outside the home, if any. Even my max averages out to once a week. As a substitute teacher using an online job assignment finder, I still find it difficult to commit to the same day of the week because the jobs don’t always pop up on those “best” days for me. 🙁

    Please be praying that my husband’s company will move into a higher paying position OR that he will truly embrace me staying home full time and trust God for the rest.

    • Pam Barnhill says:


      You need to plan days — not specific days, but the next day. You need a plan laid out for the year. You can have each day look the same or have A days and B days. Then when you work you go to work, When you come home, you simply do the next day’s plan. If you work two days in a row then the third day you do the next day’s plan. If you don’t work you just do the next thing. Is that making sense? You can still make a plan, but it needs to be a do the next thing plan. I hope that helps.


  • Connie says:

    Thanks, Pam! The specific ways that you look at situations are really helpful. Your information came at a good time, as we are almost done with school, and starting to plan for – our first year of high school! (I’m sure it can be done!) That is, once I’ve emptied the drawers of all the non-school papers, (now how do I store them!) and stored all of the books we won’t be using right away! Your information on loop scheduling will be super pertinent this year, as we don’t want to give up the ‘good and lovely’ things which make a home school day fun and unique. Our co-op may not meet for classes next year, so I’m finding it difficult to estimate how much time we’ll have at home vs. other outside classes, etc. Because of this, your block scheduling idea will come into play, too, as that flexible style allows me to shift our schedule at home around, probably many times throughout the year. That’s the only way I’ve found to deal with the snag of unknown monkey wrenches; you can imagine how grateful I am for that bit of sanity-giving advice!

  • Christi says:


    Thank you for always serving your family and fellow homeschooling moms. Having been a “fly by the seat of her pants” type of girl, I have failed over the years with my homeschool plans. Your checklist and plans have been a great blessing to me. As a Mom of 4 school age students (ages 6-12) organizing their school work in advance has been overwhelming to me. Please share with me how much time typically it takes for you to complete step 8? Are you able to elaborate or point me to a resource on breaking down step 8?

    Thank you.

  • Sara Gentry says:

    I appreciated hearing this post this morning on The Homeschool Solutions Podcast. We have two children (ages 6 and 2), so we are in our early stages of homeschooling. I’ve been planning this way from the beginning because it just seemed natural to me. (Though I absolutely must credit you and your planning materials for helping us to create a vision. I would have overlooked that step and it was incredibly helpful! We created a long-term vision as well as a goal sheet for the year.) Since our daughter is doing the equivalent of first grade, I was concerned that maybe my our method wouldn’t be robust enough in the older years. I was so relieved to hear that you are doing this with children older than ours – and three of them, no less! Thank you for the work you do. I appreciate your resources and all three podcasts.

  • Cheryl MIller says:

    Hi, Pam, I’m very excited to use the “free Planning checklist”, however, I can’t figure out how to download it. Does it come in an email? Is there a download link on this page? I’m new to homeschool and looking for anything to make it run smoothly for my guy. Thanks so much all your resources. Looking forward to the planning checklist.


  • Megan says:

    Is the planning checklist available somewhere else? It is saying this form has expired when I click “I want one!”


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